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  1. john murphy
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    john murphy Member

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    Earth or earth?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by john murphy, Oct 29, 2011.

    Is Earth considered a proper noun? Should I always capitalize it when I'm referring to the planet? How about when someone is insulting another calling them an "earthworm"?
     
  2. Allan Paas
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    Allan Paas Contributing Member

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    Earth - the name of our planet.
    earth - soil, ground.

    Insults in a sentence, if not the first word, are lower case, unless someone's name is used as an insult.

    I'm no expert but this my opinion.
     
  3. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Yes, I agree with Allan. It's capitalised when it's a proper noun, as in a name like Greg etc. So the Earth refers to the planet. The brown stuff under your feet which you dig in is just earth.

    Cheers.
     
  4. Peutra
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    Peutra Member

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    Normally, it's "planet Earth", "the earth". Works like that, according to proper grammatical sources. If you're writing some sort of sci-fi/fantasy novel, you may want to capitalize the word, though.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    peutra is right... it's usually not capitalized unless you're using it as the formal name of a planet... for things like 'what on earth...' and 'no earthly reason' and 'nowhere on earth' and such, it's all lower case...
     
  6. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I'm confused about the last example. I figured the phrase "nowhere on earth" meant "nowhere on this planet", so in that case "earth" should be "Earth".

    I may be mistakened, though...
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's not usually capitalized in that phrase, but some do... it's a matter of style, not rules, so if you want to use a capital, i doubt anyone would complain...
     
  8. Mxxpower
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    Mxxpower Member

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    Nowhere on "earth" could also mean nowhere on soil, or lower case earth. Proper nouns are always capitalized, so if you mean the planet, capitalize it.
     
  9. Enerzeal
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    Enerzeal Member

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    How about "John was earth bound, he had been for three weeks now."

    Or is it.

    "John was Earth bound, he had been for three weeks now."

    He is destined is landing on the planet Earth, yet he will also be touching down on earth.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you're referring to him heading for the planet, then it's 'Earthbound'... as in, 'Freed from his home planet's gravity field, the intrepid cosmic explorer was finally Earthbound.'

    once he's there, it would be 'earthbound' if referring to his actual touching down on it... such as in, 'His landing capsule was earthbound, the rocky desert floor coming up fast, in his viewer.'
     

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